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VIDEO: Who is the Nats’ setup man?

Apr 5, 2013, 12:30 PM EDT

On The Baseball Show last night, Mark and Jim Duquette talked about whether Drew Storen or Tyler Clippard should be the Nationals’ setup man. Check out the video above.

Mark will be in Cincinnati this weekend with full coverage of the Nats-Reds series. Game 1 tonight features Dan Haren’s Nationals debut, with Homer Bailey on the other side.

  1. NatsLady - Apr 5, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    This is cute. The Lerners didn't make the list. Evil owners

  2. Faraz Shaikh - Apr 5, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    yeah, no need to worry about who the setup man is going to be. I like multiple options.A bit concerned about Haren in Cincy with him being a flyball pitcher (or at least below average HR/FB% ) and all. Fireworks expected?

  3. Candide - Apr 5, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    In 1995 and 1996, the Yankees' John Wetteland had 31 and 43 saves, respectively; his WHIP for those two seasons was a pretty nifty 1.000 or so. He led the AL in saves in '96.Mariano Rivera was his setup man in 1996.The Yanks let Wetteland become a FA at the end of 1996. Mariano stepped into the closer role in 1997, at the age of 27 – two years older than Storen is now.Something similar going on here?

  4. sjm308 - Apr 5, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Candide – glad I read comments before posting or I was going to owe you a drink! I think in two years Storen will be even more affective and it hopefully will be a seamless transition. I did not look at the video either but what is wrong with both Storen and Clip filling that role. If you think about it, our bullpen is filled with setup guys. I would trust Mattheus and Stammen right now as well. I have flipped on Henry so much that I feel guilty. I still want to see him success, not just for himself, but for our team. I just can't trust what I see yet, but I will obviously root for him.Go Nats!!

  5. Sec. 3, My Untucked Sofa - Apr 5, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    From the previous post, here's the link for Boz's column todayThe Nats’ defense does not rest in opening sweep of Marlins

  6. Candide - Apr 5, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    I think you can make the argument that circumstances pushed Storen into the closer role before he was completely ready. He was Matt Capps's setup guy (remember "Clip, Store, and Save"?), but Capps ended up going to the Twins for Wilson Ramos when the Nats needed a solid catcher in a hurry. Storen did well, but as we all saw in the NLDS lat year, didn't yet have that stone-cold executioner's mentality you need in that win-or-die game. Soriano has it, and we can hope, with another year or two regularly shutting other teams down, Drew will get it, too.

  7. Timothy Folk - Apr 5, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Whoever is feeling the best that day.. Depth is a luxury we have no need to run guys in the ground….. peric is annoying

  8. A DC Wonk - Apr 5, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    … what is wrong with both Storen and Clip filling that roleLet me go further and propose a radical idea:Soriano mentors Clip and Storen. When he leaves, both Clip and Storen fall into the closer role.Yeah, I know, seems radical not to have a primary closer, but, a generation ago, it was not so uncommon.As a kid I was a Mets fan, and so I know the most about them.In 1969, the Mets had two primary closers: Danny Frisella (righty) and Tug McGraw (lefty).And, again, 1986 Mets (which, as we know, Davey managed) also had two primary closers: Roger McDowell (righty) and Jesse Orosco (lefty).Granted, both Clip and Store are righty, but the point is that there doesn't have to be one primary closer.(And, even more so, there doesn't have to be one primary set up man).Having a tag team of — just as an example — Clip/Soriano one night and Storen/Stammen the next — could be ideal, especially during times when there are streaks of 17 games in 17 days against good teams (or, like our first three games: (1) Clip/Soriano, (2) Storen/Soriano, (3) Clip/Stammen — or, you get the idea). We still have a lot of young arms, and we might actually have a bullpen with no weak links. No need to burn anybody out if we have three close games in a row.

  9. A DC Wonk - Apr 5, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    (Timothy, no need to keep poking that stick around)

  10. Section 222 - Apr 5, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    I love the A and B bullpen concept, which, as I've repeatedly pointed out, does not mean having an A and B closer. Rather,Soriano is THE closer. Others (primarily Clipp or Storen on their "off day") will spell him if he needs a night off, but he will always close if he's well enough rested. The other guys will alternate in the setup rolls — Clip and Storen in the 8th. OHenry and Mattheus in the 7th. Stammen and Duke fill in as necessary — either in long relief, or taking the 9th when we're behind, or ahead by alot. And Duke can take the 7th or 8th in a key situation with two big time lefties coming up – like this weekend with Votto and Bruce. The key to this is everyone pitching reasonably well. If Henry blows up a bunch of times and can no longer be trusted in a game that's tied in the 7th, that's a problem.Another key, of course, will be starting pitching. This alignment assumes they go 6 innings. But if they can go 7, that gives Davey more options to rest guys. And he'll need those options if we're playing well and winning games. For example, say Soriano has pitched three days in a row, so Davey turns to Storen on his "off day" to close. That would mean that the next night if Storen pitches in the 8th he would be pitching for a third straight game. But if the starter could go 7, Davey can rest Storen and the well-rested Mattheus can pitch the 8th. Bullpen management is one of Davey's great strengths. It will be fascinating to watch this play out over the next month, particularly during that stretch of 17 straight games without an off day from April 17-May 5.

  11. Section 222 - Apr 5, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    Wonk, I agree that there's nothing sacred about one closer. But in this case, they are shelling out a lot of money to Soriano and as long as he's pitching well, he's it. The other guys will get there chances though, there's no doubt about that. Let's hope there are LOTs of save opportunities this year!

  12. A DC Wonk - Apr 5, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    "Sec. 3, My Untucked Sofa " . . . nice!I see Boz and Werth noted the same play that I did when I recapped the game that I saw: game 2, Span covering a huge amount of ground to get to a fly ball near the warning track, and yet looking like he was just gliding, and making it look easy.What I _hadn't_ noticed/realized was that now the corner outfielders can play a bit closer to the line now because of Span.

  13. Joe Seamhead - Apr 5, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    I think to say definitively that any one guy is "the" setup guy is akin to saying that any one guy is the team MVP at this point. Sofa, you gotta know that I liked Boz' column this morning!As has been covered by some in earlier posts, the Syracuse Chiefs look pretty good. Honestly, I think top to bottom they're pretty much at least as good as some of the earlier Nats teams we put on the field not too many years ago. Thank you, Mr. Rizzo!

  14. A DC Wonk - Apr 5, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    Wonk, I agree that there's nothing sacred about one closer. But in this case, they are shelling out a lot of money to Soriano and as long as he's pitching well, he's it.Agreed. Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. My idea is for Soriano to mentor both Clip and Store, with the idea that the post-Soriano era (he's 33) _could_ have two main closers.

  15. sm13 - Apr 5, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    Bullpen depth is an absolute luxury. Few teams if any, maybe the Braves even come close to our pen. This is going to allow us to weather injuries to relievers, blow up starts, and a string of one-run games, among other difficult situations. Again, hats off to Rizzo.

  16. A DC Wonk - Apr 5, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    Let's hope there are LOTs of save opportunities this year! And (also let's hope that) when there aren't save opportunities, it's because the Nats are up by 5+ runs in the ninth ;-)

  17. Doc - Apr 5, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    Good discussion about o & d WAR on National Arms Race (a blog on the scrolling left).Someone posted a recent oWAR of Span's. Seems like if oWAR were completely valid, no way anybody would trade for him!!

  18. Joe Seamhead - Apr 5, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    doc, the people who compute oWAR and dWAR have a hard time deciding how to compute both of those stats, rendering them as pretty questionable as far as their accuracy and usefulness.

  19. Candide - Apr 5, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    Doc said…Someone posted a recent oWAR of Span's. Seems like if oWAR were completely valid, no way anybody would trade for him!!That was me – comparing Span to Morgan (God, can we put this one to rest?). In the context of a larger point – that Span was measurably better than Morgan in almost every important statistic you care to look at.Which is not to claim that WAR is somehow baseball's version of the Unified Field Theory – one number that tells you everything you need to know about life, the universe, and everything.Said number, of course, being 42.

  20. Doc - Apr 5, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    Good points Seams and Candide!I think that if baseball ever comes up with its' own version of Unified Field Theory, we NI's should prevent it from being published! It would be like an antidote of fun discussion.Stats are good stuff, and project the consistency of baseball, but a significant portion of baseball is like quantum physics–random!

  21. Steady Eddie - Apr 5, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    Candide — I see you have read the Annotated Alice.Wonk — love the point in your comment re Boz's column about letting the corner outfielders shade closer to the line. I noticed that without being consciously aware of it in remarking at the games what Boz wrote about, how effectively Werth was getting to balls hit down the first base line (which is where my seats are, in the RF corner). And in contrast to Stanton finding a way to give Zim a triple on a fairly ordinary down-the-line double (of course, misplaying the bounce in the corner didn't help). I don't think anyone missed Span's effortless snags of what looked off the bat like "Danger, Will Robinson!" drives into the gap — but didn't put the two together until Boz's column.I guess I'm a little slow on the update. But that kind of complementary capability and play is new for the Nats (especially after years of patched-together outfields), and it's a mindboggling joy to watch.

  22. Candide - Apr 5, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    Steady Eddie – haven't read Annotated Alice, though I've heard of it.You might be thinking of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

  23. Sec. 3, My Untucked Sofa - Apr 5, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    "Said number, of course, being 42."Chad Boseman in the movie version.

  24. natsfan1a - Apr 5, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    Towels are handy, too.

  25. Steady Eddie - Apr 5, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    Candide,i'd forgotten about that being in Hitchhiker's Guide — although I read an interview somewhere with Doug Adams saying he got that 42 at least in part from Martin Gardner's Annotated Alice (which was published in 1960 and so long predated Hitchhiker)("Rule 42: All persons over a mile high to leave the Court." "That's not a regular rule, you made it up just now." "It's the oldest rule in the book." "Then it ought to be Number 1!").In Annotated Alice, Gardner goes off from that on a long riff about the importance of 42 to many of Dr. Dodgson's writings, and from that to how 42 was the most important or most perfect number in the universe.

  26. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 5, 2013 at 6:22 PM

    I'm pretty sure Sheldon had a discussion with Raj about this and it was an entirely different number.

  27. NCNatsie - Apr 5, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    I thought it was a reference to Jackie Robinson

  28. Steady Eddie - Apr 5, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    NC — It's probably an explanation for why Robinson wore #42.

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